TO THE LIGHTHOUSE
children—he reminded himself. And he would
have been a beast and a cur to wish a single thing
altered. Andrew would be a better man than
he had been. Prue would be a beauty, her mother
said. They would stem the flood a bit. That was
a good bit of work on the whole—his eight
children. They showed he did not damn the poor
little universe entirely, for on an evening like this,
he thought, looking at the land dwindling away,
the little island seemed pathetically small, half
swallowed up in the sea.
" Poor little place," he murmured with a sigh.
She heard him. He said the most melancholy
things, but she noticed that directly he had said
them he always seemed more cheerful than usual.
All this phrase-making was a game, she thought,-
for if she had said half what he said, she would
have blown her brains out by now.
It annoyed her, this phrase-making, and she
said to him, in a matter-of-fact way, that it was
a perfectly lovely evening. And what was he
groaning about, she asked, half laughing, half
complaining, for she guessed what he was thinking
—he would have written better books if he had
He was not complaining, he said. She knew
that he did not complain. She knew that he had
nothing whatever to complain of. And he seized